20 Electrifying College Football Players Who Will Have a Tough Time in the NFL
Football talent at one level does not necessarily translate to success at the next level.
There are many electrifying college football players across the country who will find themselves struggling on Sundays in the NFL a year or so from now.
While that is not necessarily the case in other sports, it is very true when it comes to football. Some examples include the likes of Tommie Frazier, Ron Dayne, Eric Crouch, Ryan Leaf and Tim Tebow. Those players were All-Americans, and in some cases even Heisman Trophy winners, but were not able to do much, if anything, at the next level.
There are players who fit the mold this season in college football. Names like Taylor Martinez, Jordan Lynch and Cody Hoffman are some of the best in the game at their respective positions, but might not have much success, if any, in the NFL.
Here are 20 players who might excel in 2013 against college competition, but will likely find themselves sitting on the bench in the NFL, or maybe even out of a job a few years from now.
Here are five players who just missed making this list.
Johnathan Gray, Texas, RB: Gray burst onto the scene last year as a freshman for the Longhorns, leading the team in rushing yards with 701. At 207 pounds, he has decent size for the college level, but is not big enough or fast enough for the NFL.
Terrance Owens, Toledo, QB: Even though he is one of the most explosive players in the country, not many people know a lot about Owens. He is an electrifying player at the college level, but his passing skills do not translate to the NFL.
Alex Amidon, Boston College, WR: This is another player not a lot of people have likely heard of. He caught 78 passes for 1,210 yards and seven touchdowns last season. At only 5'11 and 186 pounds, he will find himself overwhelmed at the next level.
John Hubert, Kansas State, RB: Hubert is one of those players who might have benefited big time from a guy like Collin Klein at quarterback. He has rushed for over 900 yards each of the past two seasons, but at only 5'7", the NFL might be too much for this kid.
Keith Price, Washington, QB: Price did not have an excellent junior season, but he excelled as a sophomore in 2011. His size will be a huge factor in the NFL, at only 6'1". His arm might be another issue as well.
No. 20 Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M, QB
Everybody knows what Johnny Manziel accomplished last season, winning the Heisman Trophy and dominating SEC defenses.
While this could be his last season in College Station, Manziel might not have quite the size to be a star in the NFL like he is right now in the college game.
Unlike some of the other players on the list, Manziel is a good bet to make a living at the next level. He is only 6'1", but does have a lot of intangibles that make him intriguing to NFL teams.
His attitude and off-the-field activities might raise some questions, along with his 6'1" frame.
No. 19 De'Anthony Thomas, Oregon, RB
De'Anthony Thomas is another big name on the list. When it comes to electrifying players, he may top the list in college football this year.
Thomas does not have the durability to carry the ball 20 times at the collegiate level, so needless to say that will not be the case in the NFL.
He has a shot to be a factor on special teams and third down, but could be more like a Darren Sproles in the NFL rather than a star like some might think.
His speed, however, will keep him on a roster for years to come.
No. 18 Rakeem Cato, Marshall, QB
Rakeem Cato is not a household name, but within a few years, the Miami native certainly will be.
As a sophomore, the Marshall quarterback passed for over 4,200 yards with 37 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He plays in Conference USA, which has been known to give up a few passing yards here and there.
Just ask the Houston Cougars over the past few years.
Cato is only 6'0" and 182 pounds with enough mobility issues to worry NFL scouts. His excellent arm will help him land a job at the next level.
No. 17 David Fluellen, Toledo, RB
David Fluellen put up huge numbers in 2012, despite struggling down the stretch with an injury.
He still managed to total 1,498 yards with 13 touchdowns on 259 carries, while averaging nearly 5.8 yards a carry.
Fluellen is another solid MAC player who does not have the skills to translate into success in the NFL. He could be a solid backup, but he does not have the size or speed to excel in the NFL.
He will team with quarterback Terrance Owens to form an excellent 1-2 combo this season for the Rockets.
No. 16 James Franklin, Missouri, QB
James Franklin struggled last season with injuries, but he has a chance to rebound in 2013 during his senior campaign.
Franklin is more of a dual-threat quarterback as he can beat teams with both his arm and his legs. That is not going to happen in the NFL.
At 6'0", Franklin does not quite have the size to be a starter in the NFL.
Whether or not he can even contribute remains to be seen.
No. 15 Glasco Martin, Baylor, RB
Glasco Martin lost a lot of carries midway through last season to transfer Lache Seastrunk. Seastrunk is one of the most explosive players in the country, but Martin is no slouch either.
He averaged five yards per carry last season with 15 touchdowns and 889 yards.
Martin lacks the speed to breakaway from defenders in the NFL. His 220-pound frame is excellent when it comes to size, but that is not going to be enough to be a star in the NFL for Martin.
Either way, he will team with Seastrunk to form an excellent combination in 2013 at the college level.
No. 14 Jared Abbrederis, Wisconsin, WR
If Jared Abbrederis had somebody a little more talented throwing him the football, he would be an All-American candidate.
He had 933 yards on 55 receptions as a sophomore with Russell Wilson throwing him the football, but regressed last year with only 49 catches for 837 yards.
This year could be huge for his draft stock.
Either way, his big-play ability might not translate well to the next level.
No. 13 Denicos Allen, Michigan State, LB
Denicos Allen is a stud for Michigan State. He has a wealth of talent and is one of the best defensive players in the Big Ten heading into the 2013 season.
He might be a bit undersized for the collegiate level at only 5'11" and 225 pounds. Allen, however, will almost certainly be a mid-round selection in the 2014 NFL draft.
Whether he can play linebacker or more of a strong safety spot in the NFL remains to be seen, but either way it does not appear his skill set will translate to NFL stardom.
No. 12 Jeremy Hill, LSU, RB
Jeremy Hill was an absolute stud last season as a freshman for LSU. He led the team with 755 yards and 12 touchdowns on 142 carries.
If he can stay out of trouble off the field, he will likely find himself as the team's leading rusher once again.
He is a large running back for the collegiate level, but that does not necessarily mean he will be able to average 5.3 yards a carry like he did last season.
Hill is another LSU running back who will likely not have as much success at the next level as it might seem.
No. 11 Brandin Cooks, Oregon State, WR
Brandin Cooks put up huge numbers last season for Oregon State and he will be looking to improve on those in 2013. That would greatly enhance his draft stock.
Last season, Cooks caught 67 passes for 1,151 yards and five touchdowns.
No question that he is a a big play threat down the field every snap.
At only 5'10" and 181 pounds, Cooks may not quite have the talent to put up such numbers in the NFL.
No. 10 Venric Mark, Northwestern, RB
Northwestern running back Venric Mark is one of the fastest players in the Big Ten. He is also one of the top running backs in the conference.
Mark rushed for 1,366 yards last season with 12 touchdowns, while averaging six yards a carry.
He is another player who is very undersized for the NFL at 5'8" and 175 pounds.
Mark might be a player who translates better as a wide receiver or an option on third down at the NFL level.
Either way, he is not likely to star on Sundays.
No. 9 Braxton Miller, Ohio State, QB
Braxton Miller is one of the best quarterbacks in the country. He was in Heisman contention last season and that will likely be the case once again in 2013.
If Miller can improve on his passing, he will likely be one of the best players in the country once again this year.
The problem for him is his arm does not quite translate to the next level. He does not have ideal size, but at 6'2" and 215 pounds he has the strength to endure a hit or two.
His athleticism is ideal, but that arm accuracy still poses plenty of questions.
No. 8 Dri Archer, Kent State, RB
Dri Archer might be the most electrifying player in the country this side of De'Anthony Thomas.
Still, the Kent State speedster will have his hands full trying to succeed in the NFL. He might have to shift over to wide receiver, as he does in multiple sets for the Golden Flashes. Archer is only 5'8" and 175 pounds, so he is similar in size to a lot of other running backs on the list.
There is no question that he has a place at the next level, he just might not dominate like he has so far in college.
No. 7 Jackson Jeffcoat, Texas, DE
Even though Jackson Jeffcoat had an injury-plagued 2012 season, he is still one of the best defensive linemen in the country heading into the 2013 season.
Jeffcoat has plenty of size at 6'5" and 245 pounds, but has never quite lived up to the hype during his first three seasons in Austin. He has the tools to be an excellent pass-rusher at the next level, but it is hard to say if he will live up to the hype.
His senior season should be a huge indicator.
No. 6 Chuckie Keeton, Utah State, QB
Chuckie Keeton will be one of top quarterbacks in the country this coming season. Not a lot of people know much about him, but the Utah State signal caller led the Aggies to an 11-win season in 2012.
He was only a sophomore, so there is plenty of room to improve.
Keeton can beat opponents with both his legs and his arm as he is one of the top dual-threat quarterbacks in the nation.
At 6'1" and 200 pounds, Keeton does not quite fit the mold. Who knows, he might end up like Russell Wilson. Odds are, that is not going to be the case.
No. 5 James White, Wisconsin, RB
James White split carries with Montee Ball last season, but this year he will be the go-to guy on offense for Wisconsin.
While running back Melvin Gordon will also get some touches, White is one of the most proven backs in the country.
Last year he rushed for 806 yards and 12 touchdowns on 125 carries. That average of 6.4 yards a carry is something to take note of.
He is a solid runner, but he does not translate to the NFL like a lot of the other top backs when it comes to speed and strength.
No. 4 Jordan Lynch, Northern Illinois, QB
Jordan Lynch had one of the best seasons of any player in the country last year. Even though it was overshadowed by the awful showing in the Orange Bowl, one game does not completely take away from the year he had.
Lynch passed for 3,138 yards and 25 touchdowns, while rushing for 1,815 yards and 19 more scores.
It is hard to imagine Lynch having the size at 6'0" and 216 pounds, or the arm, judging by his 15-for-41 performance against Florida State to be a star in the NFL.
Still, he will be in the Heisman conversation in 2013 if he has a repeat performance of last year.
No. 3 Max Bullough, Michigan State, LB
Max Bullough is one of the top linebackers in the Big Ten. He might even be an All-American candidate with an excellent 2013 season.
Even though he is one of the top linebackers in the country, he is not projected to go higher than the fourth or fifth round this coming draft.
His speed leaves a lot to be desired. He does have good size and is a tackling machine, but it does not appear like he is going to be a stud in the NFL.
This season however, he will lead a solid Michigan State defense once again.
No. 2 Cody Hoffman, BYU, WR
Cody Hoffman has steadily improved each of his first three seasons at BYU. This year will likely be no different.
Last season, Hoffman caught 100 passes for 1,248 yards and 11 touchdowns. He is 6'4" and 215 pounds, but is more of a possession receiver.
He is not likely to be one of the top receivers taken in the upcoming draft.
Hoffman is lacking in the speed department and that will prove costly at the next level.
No. 1 Taylor Martinez, Nebraska, QB
Taylor Martinez is the easy selection here to top the list. The Nebraska quarterback will likely have to move to another position if he wants to play on Sundays.
He is only 6'1" and 210 pounds with an arm that is not NFL-caliber. There is plenty of speed, particularly for a quarterback, so Martinez might even have enough athleticism to play wide receiver in the NFL.
He is not going to be a star, but he has the talent to make a living playing in the NFL.
With that being said, he is going to find it very tough sledding in the NFL.
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